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Parsons Part-Time Faculty Strike Update

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday December 1, 2022

The New School part-time faculty have voted against the wages and benefits package offered by the University following the strike authorized by A.C.T.-U.A.W. Local 7902—the Union representing the faculty members. The vote was overwhelmingly NO, with a request by the Union that a mediator from the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service be engaged in subsequent negotiations. The University has agreed to this, stating:

We are at a pivotal moment and the need, obviously, is urgent. As we aim to reach agreement as quickly as possible, the university’s bargaining team remains ready to meet at any time....
Additional details on the university’s finances and the impact of a part-time faculty agreement are available here

It has been calculated by the union that the wage increase is so far outstripped by inflation that it amounts to less than what they were earning four years ago. The following information was forwarded to me for this post by Dr. Anastasia Aukeman, a part-time faculty member at Parsons, whose son, Miles, is a junior at the Eugene Lange College of The New School. Thanks to Anastasia for forwarding updates from the Union and the University for this feature.  Above: cartoon by part-time faculty member Noah Fischer posted to Instagram @n_o_a_h_fischer More about the strike here Click for info about the vote

Following is an example of the bombastic attitude taken by New School President Dwight A. McBride to parents and guardians of New School students, 11.28.2022

Let me state clearly and unequivocally that above all, I believe in The New School; I believe in our legacy as a haven for scholars who challenge the status quo; and I believe in our capacity for innovative problem solving and positive change. We will get through this moment together. But it will not be as adversaries. It cannot be. We all want a brighter future for The New School and for all of our community members. It is my hope we emerge from this current process firmly on the road to that brighter future together.

Thank you.
Onward and upward!

 

Following is an extract from a letter posted on New School Parents FB page directed to New School Chair Rappaport, New School Trustees, President McBride, Provost White, and Dean Watson

Last year, when my child expressed interest in attending Parsons, I was excited and supportive. I admired The New School’s mission to: “mak[e] the world a better and more just place. . . . and improve conditions for local and global communities.” I was impressed by the opportunities that Parson’s provided its students to work with and be mentored by accomplished and working artists. I was comforted by the resources the school promised to make available to my neurodivergent, depressive child….

We have been disappointed at every turn. We learned that Parsons pays its much-vaunted working-artist faculty far less than the already paltry market wage and pays The New School administration far more than the already bloated market wage. Budgets are moral documents. The New School’s budget shows that it values neither its faculty nor its students....

My child did not receive the promised support for mental health or learning differences. It took weeks to get an appointment with mental health. The semester was nearly half over before an ADHD coach was assigned. On the other hand, the part-time faculty were the only staff members from whom my child felt compassion or a willingness to help....

The New School’s union-busting negotiating tactics show that it is not actually concerned about making the world a more just place or improving conditions for The New School community (let alone the global community). Not only have you refused to provide your faculty a living wage, but you have also refused to support their access to health care or their ability to report abuse to a neutral party.

The union has been diligent and compassionate in its communication. You have been silent. When should we expect a return to classes? Will the students get credit for this semester? How will students make up for the lost learning time? How will tuition be adjusted to account for the lost class time? How will this semester be graded? At best, you have provided no substantive answers to any of these questions. At worst, you attempt to foist responsibility for these issues onto the striking faculty when they belong at your feet....

My younger child is a junior in one of the biggest and highest ranked public high schools in the country. I am sharing my family’s experience with The New School with her college counselors and her classmates’ families. I tell them that The New School does not care about its students, and they should look elsewhere for colleges. My family is considering a tuition strike. My child is considering options for transfer.

Betsy Wilson, Attorney/Mitigation Specialist
Parsons Parent 

Left: This from Tom Finkelpearl, former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs


Read an insightful feature in The New Republic by Alissa Quart, 11.29.2022

This just in from Teamsters Local 251, East Providence, RI:

Teamsters Local 251 members working as custodians, groundskeepers, and movers at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) have voted to authorize a strike by a 95 percent margin.

“These brave men and women are joining tens of thousands of other university workers all across the country who are standing up and demanding that their employers stop acting like Fortune 500 companies and start acting like institutions of higher learning,” said Matt Taibi, Local 251 Secretary-Treasurer and Eastern Region International Vice President. “These workers have been underappreciated and undercompensated for far too long.”

The workers took the strike authorization vote after the university refused to meet a reasonable standard for wages, health care benefits, and a retirement package. As of 2020, RISD has roughly 2,500 students enrolled, an endowment of $440 million, and 

Teamsters Local 251 represents over 6,300 workers in a wide variety of industries throughout Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts. For more information, go to https://teamsterslocal251.org/

 


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